Statecraft needed

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It is very encouraging that Pakistan’s parliament has voted not to join the Saudi-led coalition fighting against Shia rebels in Yemen.

Given that the Houthi rebels are sponsored by Shia Iran, and the coalition opposing them is Sunni, it already looked too like a sectarian war.

There is also a strong sectarian divide in Iraq and Syria’s civil wars; Iran supports the Shia-dominated Iraqi government and the Alawite regime in Syria, while Islamic State (IS) was created with Gulf Arab money.

Oh that the main Western powers had shown a similar level of wisdom to the Pakistani parliament. America would not have laid the seeds of the civil wars in Iraq and Syria by overthrowing Saddam Hussein, nor would Britain and France have turned Libya in to a failed state.

It is frightening to think that had the British public, led in their resistance by Nigel Farage, not objected so strongly to military action against the Assad regime, Syria would today be completely in the hands of IS.

Also, if our leaders grasped the full significance of Iran’s enrichment of uranium as the Israelis do, they would not have come to such a weak agreement with the Iranian government.

A mixture of wishful thinking, selective human rights outrage and careless aggression is no substitute for statecraft.

Otto Inglis

Inveralmond Grove

Edinburgh

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